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Beach Hop Whitianga Beach Party

Arrangements are falling into place for the Repco Beach Hop visit to Whitianga on Thursday 22 March. From humble beginnings in 2001 in Whangamata, Beach Hop has grown to become the largest nostalgia festival in the southern hemisphere. The five-day long event is a celebration of all things hot rods, classic vehicles, retro caravans and rock ‘n’roll.

Last year was the first time a trip to Whitianga was included in the formal Beach Hop programme. “We’ve had more than 600 vehicles making the journey to Whitianga,” says Noddy Watts, main Beach Hop organiser. “All the participants had a ball of a time and told us that they would like to come back again this year.”

Thames Coromandel District Council, The Informer, the Mercury Bay Business Association and the Mercury Bay Events Trust are the major local sponsors of what will this year be called the “Repco Beach Party.”

The vehicles that will participate in the Repco Beach Party will leave Whangamata at 8:30am on 22 March and is expected to arrive at Buffalo Beach Reserve in Whitianga by 11:00am. From there they will be marshalled via The Esplanade to park up in Albert Street (between Monk Street and Blacksmith Lane), Taylor’s Mistake and the Northern Reclamation at the Whitianga Marina. Parts of Albert Street, Blacksmith Lane and The Esplanade will be closed while the vehicles are in town.

Last year’s very popular “drag race” will return. The race is really just two teams (organised by Noddy and his fellow Beach Hop organisers) pushing a Ford and Chevy along Blacksmith Lane and The Esplanade. “The drag race is unique to Whitianga,” says Noddy. “It’s great fun and there’s no way we weren’t going to do it again.”

Another highlight of the day will be a display by the Yak aerobatics team that’s based in Pauanui. “An air show is something pretty special,” says Noddy. “By itself the show will attract a lot of Beach Hop participants to Whitianga. I want to commend the people of Whitianga for putting the show on for us.”

Live music will be at the order of the day, with three bands providing entertainment in the vicinity of The Whitianga Hotel and Frankies Sports Bar & Grill and at the Northern Reclamation.

All the vehicles that made the trip to Whitianga will be eligible to win a “best vehicle on the day” prize and will also go into a draw to win $1,000 cash. The vehicle winner must be present at the time of the draw to claim the cash.

Cash prizes of $100 each will also go to each of the best dressed shopfront window, the best dressed group of staff members of a local business, the best dressed male, the best dressed female and the best dressed couple.

“There’s a lot of incentive for the people of Whitianga to get into their best Elvis and Marilyn outfits,” says Noddy. “Beach Hop is very much about the atmosphere. The more people who are dressed up and the more shopfront windows that are made up, the better the atmosphere.”
All prizes will be drawn at approximately 2:00pm.

People will be able to buy an official Beach Hop programme during the repco Beach Party and enter into a draw to win a beautifully restored 1956 Ford pickup truck, a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle, a retro caravan in a Hawaiian theme or $10,000 cash. Conditions apply to the draw.

A Whitianga Beach Party programme will be published in The Informer of Wednesday 21 March. As part of our sponsorship arrangement with Noddy and his team of Repco Beach Hop organisers, a copy of that issue of The Informer will be handed to all Beach Hop participants who made the trip to Whitianga. There’s an opportunity for local businesses and community groups to organise their own competitions and activities on 22 March and have that included in the programme that will be published in The Informer. Please contact us for details. 

Write up, compliments by The Informer.